The Beginning and The End

This is the version of this story that I submitted for my OU A363 Creative Writing module last month – it was originally 6.7k words but I had to cut 4k from it in about 16 hours in order to make my word count and deadline. So this super-compact version is not my favourite of the four edits but it’s the one I’m sharing for now. Eventually this story will get to grow *way* beyond the confines of a short story, which I’m quite excited about. In the meantime I hope you enjoy 🙂 Ray x

It’s not the first time I’ve been woken in the dead of night by the proximity alarm screaming through the ship.

‘Ada…’ I groan. ‘That better not be because a certain someone has hacked the airlock again.’

Before the A.I. can respond, there’s a low chuckle that is way, way too close. My hair stands on end, I know that laugh.

‘Lights!’ I bark, scowling as the cabin illuminates my favourite nightmare in the doorway, pointing a goddamn plasma pistol at me.

‘What the fuck are you doing here Katya?’

She gives me a smug grin that makes me want to punch her. ‘It’s always such a delight to see you Eliss.’

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How the Dickens do you Short Story?

Before you make incorrect assumptions based on the title of this post, I should state that it has nothing to do with Dickens (Charles or otherwise) and everything to do with Short Stories.

I can’t write them.

At least I can’t now. Whether I will be able to in the future – and it had better be the very *near* future or I’m in trouble – who knows? Right now I must own up to being unaccustomed to the medium of short story and wholly unsure as to how to make myself au fait with them before it is vitally important. By which I mean the 9th of January when the Fiction TMA will be due.

All the story ideas I’ve had take root in my noggin recently have been of at least novel-length size (my current WIP is the first of three novels should I get round to finishing the damn draft). I’m a very wordy, overly verbose person at the best of times and just plain rambling at my worst. So the concept of telling a complete story in less than 5,000 words is almost inconceivable to me. How the hell does anyone manage it? I could possibly, maybe tell a short story from within a larger narrative but to create a little world in a tiny bubble that can never burst seems almost impossible.

The various books on writing that I own all focus on novels so trying to find some guidance and tips for writing short stories is going to take a bit more searching on my part. Any handy resources that my fellow A215ers may know of, from the interwebs or books will be greatly appreciated as I desperately need to learn how to mould a teeny-tiny story rather than launching into a 90K word novel.

Also I would like to take a moment to ask a nervous favour. I put up some bits of my writing related to my WIP on Wattpad last month, one is actually the raw first draft of the beginning of the book (we’re talking seriously raw, I wrote it and haven’t touched the actual text since) and the other is a piece that is not part of the novel but took place some years prior to it. It’s that piece I would like some feedback on as to whether it may be suitable to work as a short story. It’s called One Cold Winter’s Night and is told from the POV of my main character in 1st person rather than the 3rd person POV I’ve been writing the novel in.

Any thoughts on its potential would be greatly appreciated.

Now I’m going to run away from my laptop and hide for a while. (If you can’t tell, the idea of strangers reading my work is rather terrifying)

Ray